Walter Taylor Reveley, II

H-SC President, 1963-1977

Walter Taylor Reveley, II W. Taylor Reveley 1939 was a star of Dr. Eggleston's last graduating class: president of the class for three years, member of one social fraternity and two honoraries, three-sport letterman for three years, student-body president (after holding both lower offices), he graduated magna cum laude and received the Gammon Cup, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion, and the Tiger Trophy. After the full course at Union Seminary he was ordained in 1942 and served briefly in two pastorates and as an Army chaplain before joining the faculty of Southwestern College, Memphis (now Rhodes College) in 1946. Having interrupted his teaching 1949-52 to secure a Ph.D. in Christian Ethics from Duke, he became Southwestern's Dean of Admissions and Records in 1961; in Spring 1963 he accepted the post of Secretary of the Division of Higher Education of the Board of Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.), headquartered in Richmond. His arrival in the wake of Dr. Gilmer's resignation reawakened the consideration first given him as a candidate in 1960; although some Trustees objected both to the procedures followed and to the idea of having another minister (discontent with the Synod was going beyond the grumbling stage), Dr. Reveley's election was generally hailed as a step toward restoring stability. Unfortunately, various factors combined to sour the prospects: the local public school situation, turnovers in the administration, bloody battles over the curriculum, student disaffection and willfulness, faculty mistrust alike of policies and the motives behind them, and fecklessness in fund-raising. But Dr. Reveley doggedly carried on, trying to pick up the pieces as he could and to maintain a calm optimism in the face of developments that were significantly tainted by the realities of the outside world. It was symptomatic that he did not share the almost universal relief when the 1919 ties to the Synod were broken in 1975. In spring 1976 he resigned with effect from June 1977, and, after a sabbatical, joined the faculty until his retirement in 1982; he died in January 1993.